Effect of water-to-feed ratio on feed disappearance, growth rate, feed efficiency, and carcass traits in growing-finishing pigs

Fiona M. O'Meara, Gillian E. Gardiner, John V. O'Doherty, Peadar G. Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The optimum proportion of water for preparing liquid feed to maximize growth and optimize feed efficiency (FE) in growing-finishing pigs is not known. The aim of the current study was, using an automatic short-trough sensor liquid feeding system, to identify the water-to-feed ratio at which growth was maximized and feed was most efficiently converted to live-weight. Two experiments were conducted in which four commercially used water-to-feed ratios were fed: 2.4:1, 3.0:1, 3.5:1, and 4.1:1 on a dry matter (DM) basis (the equivalent of 2:1, 2.5:1, 3.0:1, and 3.5:1 on a fresh matter basis). Each experiment comprised 216 pigs, penned in groups of 6 same sex (entire male and female) pigs/pen with a total of 9 pen replicates per treatment. The first experiment lasted 62 days (from 40.6 to 102.2 kg at slaughter) and the second experiment was for 76 days (from 31.8 to 119.6 kg at slaughter). Overall, in Exp. 1, FE was 0.421, 0.420, 0.453, and 0.448 (s.e. 0.0081 g/g; P < 0.01) for pigs fed at 2.4:1, 3.0:1, 3.5:1, and 4.1:1, respectively. Overall, in Exp. 2, average daily gain was 1,233, 1,206, 1,211, and 1,177 (s.e. 12.7 g/day; P < 0.05) for pigs fed at 2.4:1, 3.0:1, 3.5:1, and 4.1:1, respectively. At slaughter, in Exp. 1, dressing percentage was 76.7, 76.6, 76.7, and 75.8 (s.e. 0.17%; P < 0.01) for 2.4:1, 3.0:1, 3.5:1, and 4.1:1, respectively. There were no differences between treatment groups for DM, organic matter, nitrogen, gross energy, or ash digestibilities. These findings indicate that liquid feeding a diet prepared at a water-to-feed ratio of 3.5:1 maximizes FE of growing-finishing pigs without negatively affecting dressing percentage. Therefore, preparing liquid feed for growing-finishing pigs at a water-to-feed ratio of 3.5:1 DM is our recommendation for a short-trough liquid feeding system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-640
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Dry matter
  • Liquid feeding
  • Sensor feeding
  • Swine

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